Adams Ranch expands ABEEF open-range cattle onto Farmton tree farm in Edgewater

Posted on May 10, 2018

Launching a new venture between two multigenerational agricultural companies, the first 100 head of Adams Ranch cattle will be trucked to Edgewater next month to graze the 60,000-acre tree-farm operation of Farmton Cattle Co.

The new venture — Adams Ranch-Farmton LLC — brings together two family businesses in what they envision will become a long-term relationship to expand Adams Ranch’s sustainable cattle production efforts, which began on its St. Lucie County ranch in 1937.

Headquartered in Fort Pierce, Adams Ranch is a fourth-generation cattle business operating in St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Madison and Osceola counties.

One of the top producing cow-calf ranches in the nation, Adams Ranch encompasses about 40,000 acres of pasture, 14,000 of it in St. Lucie County west of Fort Pierce.

“Part of our family heritage has always been a focus on environmental stewardship,” said Mike Adams, president of Adams Ranch, “and the same is true for Miami Corp. and Farmton, so there is a strong cultural fit between our two companies.”

Room to grow

LeeAnn Adams Simmons, director of conservation easements and the national beef program, said the venture with Farmton will be symbiotic because with Adams Ranch’s expertise in cattle and Farmton’s expertise in timber and land management, “both parties are bringing together all the knowledge we need to make this work.”

Adams Ranch is at or near capacity in its cow-calf operation, producing 5,000 to 7,000 head a year.

Vice President Lee Adams said he expects the Farmton pastures could support 2,000 cow-calf units, which would allow Adams Ranch to increase production by about one-third without buying or leasing any additional pasture land.

Though for many years Adams Ranch sold off its weaned calves when they reach about 700 pounds after eight months, in 2015 they began sending their calves to a grazing program in Madison before they are finished at Quincy Cattle Co. in Chieftain.

Adams Ranch made that change so it could begin selling beef wholesale to Whole Foods, restaurants and other direct marketing outlets, Lee Adams said.

“Our plan is to continue to expand our sustainable cattle operations and partnering with Miami Corp. and related companies who have been involved in agricultural operations and environmental stewardship efforts for multiple generations like ours made perfect sense,” Mike Adams said in a news release.


The vast property owned in western Volusia County by Miami Corp. and related companies will now add cattle to its current operations of timber, hunting and mitigation banking.

The joint cattle operation will expand over time to additional properties in Volusia and Brevard counties owned by the Miami Corp. and related companies.

As timber continues to be harvested on Farmton, as it has been since the 1930s, portions of the land will be converted to pasture, to ready it for additional cattle, as well as sod, and potentially other agricultural uses.

“As we look to diversify our agricultural operations, Adams Ranch was a natural fit for us to team up with,” said Mike Brown, Farmton's operations director. “Their innovative and sustainable cattle ranching will be an exciting new endeavor for us as we integrate the cattle onto our land.”

ABEEF cattle

Adams Ranch describes its ABEEF cattle as among the most heat-tolerant animals in the Southeast, possessing qualities suitable for open-range ranching in Florida’s tropical climate.

The ABEEF composite is a unique breed of cattle that uses Adams Ranch heat-adapted Brafords, adds Red Angus for marbling and Gelbvieh for muscling.

The first ABEEF cattle to arrive in June will come from Adams Ranch pastures in Osceola County, and initially graze on about 1,125 acres owned by Farmton Deering Park within the city of Edgewater, south of New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County.

Eventually, some cow-calf units will also come from St. Lucie County.

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